Reverend Gertha Rogers, 84, passed away last Wednesday at approximately 11AM. Condemned murders on Death Row, as well as High Elected Texas Office holders (with many people in between), often heard her tell them, "I'm gonna switch your legs!!" She was called "Mama Rogers" by those who respected and loved her. She was also called "The Queen of Texas Prison Ministry" by professional journalists who wrote newspaper articles and a biographical book about her. A short list of her many accomplishments would include: 1) She was the first female Volunteer allowed to minister on the infamous Texas Men's Death Row. 2) She also ministered to Karla Faye Tucker who was the first female prisoner to be executed in Texas since the previous executed female prisoner in 1863. Witnesses testify that Gertha treated ALL with the same Christian Bible "Unconditional Love" which Christians explain also includes logical consequences with correctional tough love. And, it seems the majority accepted that from her because they felt she had received obvious "Devine Power" and "Devine Favor" beyond her words. Her words and actions were described as intentionally clear and easy to understand by those who desired to better themselves. They were also described as sometimes intentionally harsh, but at the same time motivational in a Godly, Unconditional Loving and Positive way. Reverend Rogers was not described as passive about very much. It seems one of her primary desires was to "get things done." And, she apparently got "a lot of things done." However, it is said her acceptance was not so much because of the things she "got done," but simply because she exemplified her God's unconditional love in a way many had never experienced before. Mother Teressa, the Nobel Peace Prize winner of Calcutta, was described in a similar manner.
Prisoner quote retrieved from a book written about Reverend Gertha Rogers:
"One would probably rather take on the Warden of the unit than to confront Sister Rogers on some issue. Her advice, teaching and preaching would always cut to the quick any negative thought or comment that any of us inmates may have had. We were not frightened in the usual sense, but we were fearful of confronting Sister Rogers or going against any advice this God-fearing woman gave.
Her words were always hard and directed advice that we needed as inmates to wake us up and often shock us into making the changes that we needed to make as 'men' — and that other ministries that came into the prison were hesitant to say. Sister Gertha Rodgers may not have had a PhD behind her name, but she had the natural wisdom that would penetrate to the bone and heart of an individual. She had my respect and then we found out that she had the respect of most of the high officials at the headquarters in Huntsville, Texas; and, all the way to the Wardens and Chaplins also." Clifton D. Williams, TDCJ number 244477.
The Executive Director of The Texas Department of Criminal Justice was quoted in the same book:
"As a prison administrator, Gertha is the dream volunteer that you want working inside the prison on behalf of the inmates. She works closely with the facility administrators and the executive staff to make sure she honors all of her commitments to them to operate her program in an orderly fashion all the while striving to bring as many inmates to the cross as she possibly can. In my estimation she has been wildly successful in those efforts. There's no doubt in my mind that the Lord has placed Gertha and her Joy Prison Ministry inside the Texas Department of Criminal Justice so that she can do His work and save lost souls." Sincerely yours, Wayne Scott, Executive Director, The Texas Department of Criminal justice, 1995–2001
Those who have served in Foreign Wars have been known to repeat the expression, "We who have done so much with so little for so long now realize that we can do almost anything with nothing!" That is a humorous, stress releasing, often repeated and somewhat true statement in times of maximum anxiety while participating in death-defying warfare. However, isn't it true that one still has to consider that the USA has the most powerful, wealthy, rapid deploying and logistically supported military (with the best motivational training programs) in the history of the world? If you were to take that organizational support away — then it would seem one would be reduced to little David the Biblical Shepard Boy from Kibbutzville with 5 smooth stones recently plucked from a nearby brook, a single slingshot and his total faith in Devine Intervention to guide him. With those tools in hand (especially faith) history reports he proceeded to kill and cut off the head of Goliath — the most Feared, Gigantic and Heavily Armored warrior of his generation. That single act of David's "exampled faith" is recorded as saving his entire nation from agonizing defeat, potential slavery, rape of their women and children and possibly total Annihilation. Volunteers who have worked with Rev. Gertha Rogers and the "JOY Prison Ministry" she formed say, "We saw her 'figuratively' slay heavily armored stumbling block Giants with less than a slingshot and 5 smooth stones — on a regular basis." A common phrase often heard was (even by faith led people in her ministry), "That's impossible — how did she do that??" Many share that "Mama Rogers" would answer from the lyrics of the old Christian Gospel song "Jesus Paid It All:"
I hear the Savior say,
"Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all."
Gertha Rogers was born in a rural farm community near Coldspring, Texas (Kibbutzville) 9/19/1935 to a hard-working Godly mom who thought and sang beautiful hymns in almost everything she did. Gertha said, "Productive and joyful work never killed nobody, and -- made our food taste even better!" She attended Lincoln High School in Coldspring. She is survived by her Sister Georgia Mae, Senior 1st Cousin Mary Lois 92, Eight Living Children, Minnie, Charles, Paul, Thomas, Gregory, Beatrice, Jackie, Fredrick, 20 Grandchildren and 26 Great Grandchildren. Her wake will be Friday November 15th at Neal Funeral Home, 200 S. Washington, Cleveland, TX, between 6-9PM. Funeral Services will be held Saturday 12PM, November 16th at Generations Church, 405 Rayford Rd, Spring, TX. Pastor Gary Jobe will preside.
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